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Perm Sec hands back Church of Christ Schools


Perm Sec hands back Church of Christ Schools



HARARE – Some two-dozen Church of Christ Schools which are now firmly in the hands of individuals accused of abusing resources for personal gain have been handed back to the church by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Moses Mhike.
The 29 schools with an enrolment of over 21 000 pupils that include Dadaya High, Mashoko High, Dewure High, Masvingo Christian, Chiredzi Christian were found by American missionaries John and Marge Pemberton from 1956 but have since been hijacked by individuals who milk them for personal gain, according to sources.
Mhike firmly declared in a letter he authored on February 7, 2024 that the Ministry only recognizes the Church of Christ as the Responsible Authority (RA) of the schools and not individuals thereby putting to rest a wrangle that has been running since 2016 when a group of individuals took over the schools.
Mhike could not be contacted for comment by the time of going to Press.
The wrangle arose after the late Zebeddia Togarepi and a few other individuals formed a splinter grouping called Hippo Valley Christian Mission that took over all the schools and appointed Samuel Mahwehwe as the education secretary.
The Mahwehwe arrangement has always been challenged since 2016. The immediate past president of the Church of Christ Reverend Edwin Magwidi told The Mirror in an interview that he welcomed the intervention by the Ministry.
“As a church we welcome the developments as this will bring sanity in our schools. A few individuals are abusing church resources for their personal gain. When the missionaries left in 1983 we used to run our schools using congregational structures before we decided to have a central government to run the schools.
“In 2015, the church drafted a constitution which governs how both the church and schools were going to be run but a few individuals decided to take over the schools,” said Rev Magwidi.
Mahwehwe accused Rev Magwidi of misleading the nation when called for a comment by The Mirror. He alleged that Magwidi was leading a church outfit which is different from the original Church of Christ in Zimbabwe was founded in 1947.
“I received the correspondence from the permanent secretary but I find it similar to other corespondences we got from his predecessors including Sylvia Utete-Masango. They stated that they will not meddle in the church leadership wrangle,” said Mahwehwe.
Part of the letter reads “Our Ref D/229/1, The President Church of Christ. Attention Pastor E Magwidi. RESPONSIBLE AUTHORITY OF CHURCH OF CHRIST SCHOOLS. We refer to the above matter.
“Please be advised that pursuant to our meeting held on 12 January 2024 at our offices, we have perused the records for the schools indicated in Annex 1 of your documents and we note that the responsible authority of those schools is the Church of Christ. We further advise that the Ministry is not involved in the leadership wrangles within the church but only deals with the Church of Christ as a legal person with a capacity to do what body corporates are allowed to do at law and this includes establishing and managing a school. Thus, the Ministry only recognizes the Church of Christ as the Responsible Authority of the aforesaid schools and not individuals
“Please note that this communication cancels the previous correspondences written by the Ministry to the Church of Christ concerning this subject matter dated 21 December 2016 and 16 February 2017.”
The first Church missionaries started work in the eastern part of Zimbabwe in 1893 and established mission stations in Mount Silinda and Chikore in 1895 as well as satellite congregations in Beacon Hills, Emerald Hill and Mziter. It experienced significant growth after it became independent.

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